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SEREN: Sharing of Educational Resources in an Electronic Network in Wales

Project web site

Programme area
Electronic Document Delivery

Contact details
Dr Ian Lovecy, Director of Information Services,
University of Wales Bangor Computing Centre, Sackville Road, Bangor, Gwynedd LL57 1LD
Phone: 01248 382960 Fax: 01248 383826

Project description

as of 4th January 1996


SEREN aims to provide the software to enable the Welsh HE community to maximise use of the library resource-base in Wales before turning to BLDSC and other suppliers.


Using simple Internet mail protocols available even to small libraries, the system will allow the scanning of documents and their transmission as attachments to e-mail messages. There will be provision for the automatic transmission of documents already available in electronic format, but also for the sending of conventional faxes and photocopies and the loan of physical volumes where copyright considerations render this necessary.

The system will also allow end-users to undertake a subject search of a database and turn the retrieved items into a request which will initially check local holdings and then (after any required authorisation) pass into the inter-institutional part of the system. Accounting software will be developed to manage re-charging both between and within institutions.


The system will be developed using the appropriate standards, including Z39.50 for search and retrieval, JPEG and Group 4 fax for bit-map images, SMTP mail protocol and MIME encoding for attachments. The basic mail transport system should be ready by the end of the first year, together with the software for end-user search and retrieval.

By the end of year 2 the inter-institutional accounting should be completed, and arrangements will have been made for providing Z39.50 access to the catalogues of all Welsh HEIs.

The third year will see the completion of the internal accounting software. In year 2 the system will become operational in a number of pilot libraries, and in year three it will be extended to the entire Welsh HE community to test the viability and practicality of a geographically-based resource sharing consortium.


The project is led by the University of Wales, Bangor, with much of the development taking place at the University of Wales, Cardiff and the North East Wales Institute of HE, Wrexham. The other members of the consortium are: the National Library of Wales; the University of Wales College of Medicine; the University of Wales, Aberystwyth; Cardiff Institute of HE; Coleg Normal, Bangor; the University of Glamorgan; Gwent College of HE; the University of Wales, Swansea; Swansea Institute of HE and Trinity College, Carmarthen.

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